PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Guns were a big topic of discussion Monday on Smith Hill.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on more than 24 bills concerning gun control, including an assault weapons ban proposed by Gov. Dan McKee and Attorney General Peter Neronha.

The ban on assault rifles has been the topic of conversations since McKee and other state lawmakers introduced the bill back in January.

The legislation would ban the sale, manufacture and transfer of assault weapons. Violators would face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000 and the guns would be confiscated.

This comes in the wake of three mass shootings in America in just the past month: Louisville, Nashville and Alabama.

Gun rights advocates believe the state is using law-abiding citizens as pawns in the issues.

“What we often hear when we are proposing new legislation is we’re turning law-abiding citizens into criminals. That’s not what this legislation does and it’s not what any previous legislation has done,” Neronha said following the Nashville shooting.

In 2022, McKee signed three high-profile gun control measures into law, including the ban on high-capacity magazines containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition and raising the age to buy a gun or ammunition from 18 to 21.

“We’re very grateful for the General Assembly’s leadership to pass key gun safety bills over the past few years, including a landmark prohibition on high capacity magazines last year,” Melissa Carden, a volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action, told 12 News in a statement.

“We also know that assault weapons have been used to perpetrate many of the deadliest mass shootings in this nation’s history,” she continued. “We’re calling on our lawmakers to pass life-saving legislation that will prohibit assault weapons, require secure firearm storage, and promote education about firearm suicide prevention.”

McKee had previously filed a proposed assault weapons ban in 2021 but it never got a vote.